When Emperor Napoleon III launched the reconstruction of the Second Empire in Paris, the Beaux Arts architect Jean Louis Charles Garnier designed an elaborate opera house lavished with heroic sculptures and golden angels. Garnier was a young 35-year-old when he won the competition to design the new opera house; he was 50 years old when the building was inaugurated.
Other Names: Palais Garnier
Date Opened: January 5, 1875
Architect: Jean Louis Charles Garnier
Size: 173 meters long; 125 meters wide; 73.6 meters high (from the foundation to highest statuary point of Apollo's lyre)
Interior Spaces: Grand staircase is 30 meters high; Grand Foyer is 18 meters high, 54 meters long, and 13 meters wide; Auditorium is 20 meters high, 32 meters deep, and 31 meters wide
Notoriety: The 1911 book Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux takes place here.
The auditorium of the Palais Garnier has become iconic French opera house design. Shaped as a horseshoe or a large letter U, the interior is red and gold with a large crystal chandelier hanging above 1,900 plush velvet seats. Well after its opening, the auditorium ceiling was painted by artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985). The recognizable 8 ton chandelier features prominently in the stage production of The Phantom of the Opera.
- L'Opéra Restaurant designed by Odile Decq
- Architecture in France
- Visitor's Guide to the Paris Opera Garnier
Source: Palais Garnier, Opéra national de Paris [accessed November 4, 2013]